Student Challenge Promotes Diversity In The Property Sector


More than 60 year eight students from Ark Boulton Academy in Birmingham have been learning about the wealth of opportunities available via a future career in the land, property and planning sectors.

Experts from Richborough Estates and social enterprise Ahead Partnership guided students through a day of exciting activities, aimed at promoting the opportunities on offer and increasing diversity within the housing and planning professions.

Working in teams, students were tasked with creating a prototype housing scheme, taking into consideration a number of factors, including marketing, finances, ecology and the environment. Taking on different roles, including Architect, Managing Director, Planning Director, Civil Engineer, Ecologist, Landscape Architect and Communications Manager, students were encouraged to learn new skills and develop their knowledge.

Karl Parkinson-Witte, Joint Managing Director of Richborough Estates said:

“Getting young people involved in our industry is essential and working with Ark Boulton students just as they’re starting to think about their future career choices has been an inspiring experience.

“Whilst things are improving, our industry still has more to do to promote gender and race diversity – something that I hope activities such as this will achieve. The students were fantastic during this challenge, and it’s really impressive seeing them get to grips with the sector. Hopefully we’ll see several of them inspired to work with us in the future.”

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham Council said:

“Having a high-profile Birmingham headquartered business like Richborough Estates come forward to promote this kind of careers activity is vitally important in terms of raising aspirations and showcasing opportunity across the city. The events that Ahead Partnership deliver are designed to get young people excited about their future job prospects and it’s very welcome to see businesses engaging on skills in this manner.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership said:

“Research has shown that students who receive face-to-face experience and guidance from the business community are more engaged about their future job prospects and this is reflected in their attainment levels. The property sector is vitally important in this region and indeed the country, so opening up these professions to young people, particularly women and those from a BAME background, is key for employers like Richborough Estates.”

During the challenge, students competed against each other to bring their ideas to fruition. The two leading schemes were then presented to the team of industry experts in attendance throughout the day, with a final winner being chosen.